I ‘ll continue to push for national policy on justice, says Minister

The Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, has said that the justice sector under his watch would continue to push for mutuality in the formation and implementation of the national policy on justice.

Fagbemi said this at the 2024 National Judicial Summit on Justice Sector on Wednesday in Abuja, with the theme: `Repositioning the Justice System: Constitutional, Statutory, and Operational Reforms for Access and Efficiency”.

Giving a brief history on how the national judicial summit was born, Fagbemi said the idea was conceived in 2017 with the aim of providing a veritable platform for analysing, reviewing and accessing issues affecting the Administration of Justice in Nigeria.

“In furtherance of the above, we are developing draft constitution amendment bills which are aimed at achieving the aims of improved access to justice, deepening the independence and capacity of the judiciary, and eliminating delays in the administration of justice, among others.

“Justice Sector Summits were held in 2017 and 2022 and this summit offers us an opportunity to assess the successes recorded and challenges faced since these last summits.

“Specifically, it enables us to measure the impact of the reforms initiated by the National Policy on Justice (2017 – 2023), in the key areas of administration of justice: law enforcement, judicial proceedings, correctional services, restorative and traditional justice, legal education and practice, etc.

“At this summit we will validate and adopt the revised National Policy on Justice, 2024-2028 which is the product of extensive research work and consultations undertaken by critical stakeholders in the Justice Sector.

“Although, the draft policy itself is an ambitious document which aims to serve as a catalyst for the transformation of the entire justice system in Nigeria’’.

According to him, this is an opportunity to have a comprehensive assessment, review and consideration of issues militating against effective administration of justice in Nigeria.

“There will be a well-articulated broad road map of initiatives, actions and responsibilities for addressing and repositioning the justice sector to effectively and efficiently discharge its duties in enhancing national security: upholding the rule of law, promoting the protection of human rights, democratic principles and the socio-economic development of our nation.

He highlighted some of the key interventions proposed to be pursued in the Revised National Policy on Justice, 2024.

The policy, he said, seeks to promote and protect human rights and access to justice which are essential features of a functional justice system.

He also said it proposes practical and sustainable interventions in the implementation of statutory provisions encouraging protection of human rights and access to justice.

“It also seeks to improve mechanisms for fair and speedy dispensation of justice; detention and correctional services; restorative justice; alternative dispute resolution (ADR) – developing Nigeria into an arbitration hub on the continent; commerce and economic activities; compliance with treaty obligations; synergy and cooperation across the justice sector; and independence of the judiciary; among others,” he said. 

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